Did you know you can use Alexa to call and message others? Amazon's Alexa calling and messaging feature enables you to make and receive calls, as well as send messages between Echo devices, the Amazon Alexa app for iOS and Android and Fire tablets.It's a new way to contact family and friends. The best part? The feature is completely free to use, as it works over Wi-Fi and cellular data. Here's everything you need to know.What is Alexa calling and messaging?Technically called Alexa-to-Alexa calling and messaging, the free feature was introduced on the Amazon Echo Show in May. That device has a display and is capable of letting users place audio and video calls.But Amazon wanted to extend this functionality to other Echo devices, so developed the Alexa calling and messaging feature for supported Echo devices and the Alexa for iOS or Android app for phones or tablets. It also works with Fire tablets as well. Not only can you place a call using the service, but you can also leave a … [Read more...] about Amazon Alexa calling and messaging: What is it, how does it work, and where can you use it?
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Amazon Music Unlimited is approaching its second birthday and given it's relatively short lifespan, it's performing rather well. MIDiA says it's the third largest music streaming service after Spotify and Apple Music, with around 16 million subscribers. Here's everything you need to know about it, including how much it costs, where it's available, whether it's ad-free, how it works, and more.What is Amazon Music Unlimited?There are two different types of music streaming services: internet radio-like ones that randomly play music for you based on your preferences such as Pandora in the US, and on-demand ones that let you find and play specific songs, such as Spotify and Apple Music. Amazon Music Unlimited falls into the latter group, but it comes with a number of different features, including a low-cost price, that make it stand out from rivals.It is available to everyone, but there is a price incentive for customers who already subscribe to Amazon Prime.How much does Amazon Music … [Read more...] about What is Amazon Music Unlimited and how does it work?
Apple’s entrance into the “smart” speaker market earlier this month was remarkable because of its lateness almost more than anything else: Amazon’s Echo speakers have been around for a few years, Sonos (finally) brought a voice assistant to its Wi-Fi speaker last fall, and even Google managed to sneak in its smart speaker before the end of the year, despite not being a hardware-first company. But the HomePod launch was also noteworthy because of the approach Apple seems to have taken with it: it’s a high-end audio party in the front, and that whole virtual assistant business has been shoved to the back. The HomePod sounds incredible — really, it does — while Siri speaker can’t tell you what’s next on your calendar or handle more than one timer at a time. Naturally, this prompts both existential questions about smart speakers (what is it all for?) as well as practical ones. A lot of people just want to know the basics: will it work … [Read more...] about How does the HomePod stack up against Sonos with Alexa?
Amazon has a new Echo accessory that turns your Echo speaker into a voice-controlled speakerphone: the Echo Connect.Before it came along, you could only make calls from one Echo speaker to another Echo speaker, like an intercom system. Now, with Connect, you can call a contact from your phone's address book, another landline number such as local biz, and place international and emergency calls.Here's everything you need to know about Echo Connect.What is Echo Connect?Amazon now offers "Alexa Gadgets", which are Echo-branded accessories. One of the first gadgets is Echo Connect. It connects to your existing phone line or VoIP and allows your Echo speaker to act as a speakerphone. You can ask Alexa via your Echo device to call anyone, and it'll dial him or her through your Echo Connect using your phone landline. It even handles international and emergency calls.Does Echo Connect require anything?If you want to use the Echo Connect, you need three things:A phone landline or VoIP, a … [Read more...] about What is Amazon Echo Connect and how does it make calls?
Echo Look is one of the newest additions to Amazon's line of Echo-branded devices, and it's also one of the quirkiest.Each Echo device has a different form factor and is best suited to a specific environment - whether you're at home and want to listen to tunes on the go, trying to enhance your current audio setup, or simply need to take a photo of your outfit to get style advice. You can see the differences between each device here. But the one thing they all have in common is built-in Alexa, Amazon's voice assistant.Echo Look is different from its siblings in that it isn't about providing music playback or enhancing your audio experience. While it does have a speaker so you can hear Alexa, it's primarily a camera that lets you snap photos and videos. It also includes a unique service that allows you to capture your daily outfits, catalogue them, and get style advice in real time. Here's what you need to know about Echo Look.What is Amazon Echo Look?Amazon said Echo Look has … [Read more...] about What is Amazon Echo Look and how does it work?
Garmin now lets you make purchases on the go.First, there was Apple Pay, Android Pay, and Samsung Pay. Then, there was Fitbit Pay. Now, we have Garmin Pay. All these mobile payment systems work with contactless payment readers so that you can check out at a store, right from your wrist, without needing your wallet or phone. So, with Garmin Pay, you can be out for a run, then stop to buy a bottle of water, and pay for it with just your Garmin device.Here's what you need to know about Garmin Pay, including which devices offer it and how it works.What is Garmin Pay?Garmin Pay works just like rival contactless payment systems. With a compatible Garmin watch, you can pay for stuff by holding your wrist near a contactless card reader - that's it. There's no need to fumble for your phone, wallet, cards, or cash.Here's how Garmin described Garmin Pay:"Garmin Pay is a contactless payment solution designed for people who are always on the move. Whether you grab a cup of coffee after … [Read more...] about What is Garmin Pay, how does it work, and which banks support it?
Google is taking on Alexa, Siri, and Cortana with its own voice assistant: Google Assistant.Google first unveiled Assistant at Google I/O in May 2016, launched it on the Google Pixel and Pixel XL phones, brought it to Google Home and then Android Wear 2.0, before it started it rolling it out to other phones running Android.More than year on from Google Assistant's launch, Google has spread Assistant far and wide, not only on Google's own hardware, but through partnerships with other companies. That sees Google Assistant in a wide range of devices, from fridges to headphones, speakers to cars.Here's how Google Assistant works and what you need to know about Google's AIWhat is Google Assistant?Google Assistant is Google's voice-controlled smart assistant. It's was originally an upgrade or extension of Google Now - designed to be personal - while expanding on Google's existing "OK Google" voice controls.Originally, Google Now smartly pulled out relevant information for you: it knew where … [Read more...] about What is Google Assistant, how does it work, and which devices offer it?
Spotify is a digital music streaming service that gives you access to millions of songs, podcasts and videos from artists all over the world.Spotify is immediately appealing because you can access content for free by simply signing up using an email address or by connecting with Facebook. If you're not keen on monthly subscription fees for Spotify Premium, or just want to dip your toe in and test it out, it's easy to get started and there's no commitment.You can find out the main differences between Spotify Free and Premium in our separate feature but as a quick summary, the free version is ad-supported much like radio stations. The free version of Spotify can be accessed on PC, laptop and mobile phone, but the full service needs a Spotify Premium subscription.How does Spotify work?Getting started with listening to music on Spotify is easy: Visit the Spotify website and sign-up. We'd recommend signing up with Facebook if you have an account as it'll make it easier to find and follow … [Read more...] about What is Spotify and how does it work?
AirPlay is Apple's Wi-Fi audio streaming tech. Apple first talked about the still-forthcoming second version - called AirPlay 2 - last summer. But what exactly is AirPlay 2, what will it be able to do and what products will you be able to use it with? We'll explain all right here.AirPlay 2 was supposed to feature in the Apple HomePod which is being released on 9 February. AirPlay 2 was featured in the earlier beta of the now-released iOS 11.2 but was then removed in beta 5 when the HomePod was delayed. The new AirPlay 2 will open up a whole world of multi-room streaming capabilities that were previously not available on the iPhone or iPad (Apple said in its HomePod press release that multiroom won't be coming to the device until later in the year), so it's safe to assume we won't get full AirPlay 2 until then. What is Apple AirPlay 2? Update to Apple's long-running AirPlay protocol Will feature in the Apple HomePod Apple AirPlay 2 is the latest version of … [Read more...] about Apple AirPlay 2: What is it, how does it work and what devices are supported?
HomeKit is basically Apple’s framework for home automation.Apple wants to make it easier for smart accessories - like Philips Hue lights, Wink lights, and other smart speakers, thermostats, detectors, plugs, blinds, locks, sensors and so on - to communicate with each other. HomeKit-enabled smart accessories are secure, easy to use, and work with iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, Apple TV, and HomePod. Any manufacturer can implement HomeKit into their smart accessories.HomeKit was first announced at Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference in 2014. The name is a combination of “home” for home automation and “kit” for software developer kit. You can use the new Home app for iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch to set up all your HomeKit-enabled smart accessories, and then you can use Siri to ultimately control them via voice commands. Here's everything you need to know.This guide will help you easily connect and manage all the smart accessories in your … [Read more...] about Apple HomeKit and Home app: What are they and how do they work?